Area Information | Vienna | Austria

Vienna, Austria

Baroque street-scapes and imperial palaces set the stage for Vienna’s artistic and musical masterpieces alongside its coffee-house culture and vibrant epicurean and design scenes.

Vienna is the national capital, largest city, and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s most populous city, with about 1.9 million inhabitants (2.6 million within the metropolitan area, nearly one third of the country’s population), and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

Additionally to being known as the “City of Music”due to its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be the “City of Dreams”, because of it being home to the world’s first psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Vienna’s ancestral roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city. It is well known for having played a pivotal role as a leading European music centre, from the age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque palaces and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.

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CULINARY VIENNA

Dining in Vienna gives you a taste of the city’s history, at street stands sizzling up sausages, in candlelit vaulted-cellar wine bars and earthy, wood-panelled Beisln (bistro pubs) serving goulash and Wiener schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet); its present, at hip cafes, multiethnic markets and international eateries; and its future, at innovative spaces with a wave of exciting chefs pushing in new directions.

The Dining Scene

Vienna has a lively and changing culinary scene. Traditional Austrian cuisine is taking on a lighter note, and new generations of chefs are turning to high-quality seasonal and local ingredients, coupled with the rapid uptake of new food ideas locally and from abroad.

Brunch continues to go from strength to strength in the Austrian capital, with retro-styled cafes serving breakfast until late into the afternoon. And craft cocktails and beers blur the line between a restaurant and bar.

The Viennese have also reaffirmed their love for traditional-style restaurants, in particular Beisln, dishing up heaping portions of Austrian favourites like Wiener schnitzel, Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef, served with radish) and Gulasch (goulash).

Today, eating out in Vienna lets you enjoy the best of both traditional and contemporary dining, with many places crossing effortlessly between the two.

Street Food & Markets

Würstel (sausages) are sold in up to a dozen varieties at Würstelstände (sausage stands) throughout the city. Sausages are served inside a bread roll hot-dog-style or sliced and accompanied by cut bread, and weighed down with sweet (süss) or hot (scharf) mustard (Senf). As well as Bratwurst (fried sausage), you could try Burenwurst (the boiled equivalent), Debreziner (spicy) or Käsekrainer (infused with cheese).

The largest and best-known of Vienna’s markets is the aromatic Naschmarkt, which is laden with produce from all over Austria and the world, and lined with food ‘stalls’, including many fully fledged restaurants. Other fantastic markets include the Brunnenmarkt, leading to Yppenplatz in Ottakring, and the Karmelitermarkt, east of the Danube Canal.

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THINGS TO DO IN VIENNA
Imperial Architecture

Vienna’s imperial grandeur is the legacy of the powerful Habsburg monarchy. Their home for more than six centuries, the Hofburg palace complex, incorporates the Burgkapelle (Imperial Chapel), where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings Sunday Mass, and the famed Spanish Riding School, where Lipizzaner stallions perform elegant equine ballet, along with a trove of museums, including in the chandeliered Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments). Other immense palaces include the baroque Schloss Belvedere and the Habsburgs’ 1441-room summer residence, Schloss Schönbrunn, while 19th-century splendours such as the neo-Gothic Rathaus (City Hall) line the magnificent Ringstrasse encircling the Innere Stadt (inner city).

Masterpiece-filled Museums

One of the Habsburgs’ most dazzling Rinsgstrasse palaces, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, houses the imperial art collection. It’s packed with priceless works by Old Masters, and treasures including one of the world’s richest coin collections. Behind the Hofburg, the former imperial stables have been transformed into the innovative MuseumsQuartier, with a diverse ensemble of museums, showcasing 19th- and 20th-century Austrian art at the Leopold Museum to often-shocking avant-garde works at the contemporary MUMOK. Meteorites, fossils and prehistoric finds fill the Naturhistorisches Museum, while exquisite furnishings at the applied-arts Museum für Angewandte Kunst are also among the artistic feasts in store.

Soul-stirring Music

With a musical heritage that includes composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (father and son), Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler, among countless others, Vienna is known as the City of Music. Its cache of incredible venues where you can catch performances today include the acoustically renowned Musikverein, used by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the gold-and-crystal main opera house, the Staatsoper, and the multistage Konzerthaus, as well as the dedicated home of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, MuTh. Music comes to life through interactive exhibits at the captivating Haus der Musik museum.

Renowned Drinking & Dining

The Viennese appreciation of the finer things in life extends to its opulent coffee-house ‘living rooms’ serving spectacular cakes; its beloved pub-like Beisln dishing up hearty portions of Wiener schnitzel, Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef) and goulash; elegant restaurants; and its fine Austrian wines served in vaulted Vinothek (wine bar) cellars, and in rustic vine-draped Heurigen (wine taverns) in the vineyards fringing the city. Local and international delicacies fill the heady Naschmarkt stalls, and creative chefs are experimenting with local produce and fresh new flavour combinations in innovative, often repurposed venues.

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